Outstanding Graduates–Spring 2002

Below are outstanding students who will graduate from Colorado State University during commencement ceremonies May 10 and 11. All students are available for media interviews.

Hillary Spriggs will receive a master’s degree in mathematics from the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State on May 10. Spriggs is passionate about three things: mathematics, entomology and music. She managed to write a master’s paper combining all three: "An algebraic analysis of symmetries of gaits and rhythms." Spriggs used algebraic techniques to make an analysis of the possible symmetries in both musical patterns and in the footwork of multi-legged creatures such as insects.

She is bassist in the Colorado State jazz orchestra and in the band, Twelve Cents for Marvin, voted best local band in Fort Collins. Spriggs has taught in both the individualized mathematics program – calculus for the life sciences and in calculus for physical sciences – and has contributed to research in creating lesson studies for first-year calculus material.

Spriggs plans to take some time off from mathematics and continue her music career with Twelve Cents for Marvin. She’s interested in working in the field of robotics.

Contact number for Hillary Spriggs: 970-491-4253 or 970-493-5964.

Emily Darger-Deans will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in business and an emphasis in marketing from the College of Business at Colorado State May 11.

"I came into college expecting to get all the answers; instead, I acquired the tools I will need to find the solutions I seek," said Darger-Deans. "I was taught to read the maps and understand the compasses that will lead to solutions. I acquired tools like curiosity and exploration, discipline, expecting and achieving excellence, team-building skills and integrity and self-discovery."

Darger-Deans was captain of the volleyball team this year and describes the team’s victory over the University of Colorado-Boulder as the highlight of the season. She has already begun a job at Brigham Young University as manager of Olympic sports marketing. She’ll be focusing mainly on the women’s athletic teams at BYU.

"I think my experience at Colorado State will be especially helpful in my career because the women’s teams – volleyball and basketball particularly – are so well supported and so successful," said Darger-Deans. "Fort Collins is such a great example as a community that supports university women’s athletics."

Darger-Deans will be speaking at Colorado State’s College of Business commencement ceremony May 11.

Contact phone number for Emily Darger-Deans: 801-787-8065.

Jessica Garrison, a member of Colorado’s first quadruplets, will embark on a new part of her unique life as she graduates May 11 with a degree in computer information systems from Colorado State University’s College of Business. Her brother, Forrest Garrison, will graduate from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in architecture May 10.

Although the quads are highly competitive, they spent their formative years as best friends. They all enjoyed sports, leading to Jessica’s love of diving and her position as captain on Colorado State’s award-winning diving team.

While the entire Garrison clan still lives in Colorado and values being close to each other, Jessica has her sights set on Pennsylvania and working for a technology firm that she hand-picked. She’s called sassy by her siblings and is persistent in reaching her goals. She recently went directly to the executive vice president of Intermedia Interactive Solutions in Philadelphia to express her eagerness to work for the company.

Contact phone number for Jessica Garrison: 970-416-0351.

Rabi Al-Tatari, one of the nation’s Clinton Scholars, will graduate with a MBA from Colorado State University’s College of Business on May 10. The Clinton Scholars Program is a unique government scholarship aimed at encouraging social and economic development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and strengthening American-Palestinian relations.

Al-Tatari, one of the early scholarship recipients, chose to study for his MBA to bring new ideas and advancement to his profession as a dental equipment salesman in Ramallah. Like many Clinton Scholars, he plans to use the knowledge he has gained at Colorado State not only to further his career, but to expand the knowledge of the Palestinian business community.

"I have aspirations of being more than a businessman," Al-Tatari said. "I’d like to use my experience in America, which has expanded my world, to improve my community and to assist in working toward peace. I want to be a role model and leader for the Palestinian people."

Contact phone number for Rabi Al-Tatari: 970-491-2391.

Jacklyn Bryant will receive a master’s degree in watershed science from the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University on May 10. She’s a non-traditional student who returned to college after a previous career in nursing. One of her most daunting experiences as a nurse was aiding her terminally ill husband. A few years after his death, Bryant embarked on a new career by enrolling in the College of Natural Resources. She completed her bachelor’s degree in natural resource management with a grade point average of 3.75. While working on her master’s degree, Bryant has continued to work for a living and also faced the common mid-life challenge of helping to take care of her aging parents. She will graduate with a 3.95 grade-point average. Bryant works for Parson Engineering in Denver as a senior scientist.

Contact phone number for Jacklyn Bryant: 303-975-0181.

Brian Amidon is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in social work from the College of Applied Human Sciences at Colorado State on May 10. He was in a motorcycle accident four days after his high school graduation in July 1992 and as a result, he is quadriplegic. Amidon has overcome his disability while at Colorado State and turned it to an advantage by acting as advocate and guide for disabled students at Colorado State. Amidon served as treasurer for the Disabled Student Association at the university and has worked tirelessly on an issue he believes to be paramount: universal access for all students. He recently received the "Outstanding Effort" award from the Office of Resources for Disabled Students for his work in helping disabled freshmen students adjust to collegiate life.

During the 2002 spring semester, Amidon participated in an internship at Craig Hospital in Denver, a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital exclusively dedicated to the specialty rehabilitation and research for patients with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. He worked in outpatient social services and especially enjoyed being able to work with people of all different ages from very diverse backgrounds. Amidon will be attending graduate school and plans to earn a master’s degree in social work. After completing his graduate degree, he’d like to return to Craig Hospital.

Contact phone number for Brian Amidon: 970-495-2492.

Maria Bowen will receive a degree in music from the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State on May 11. Bowen came to Colorado State in 1989 as freshman music major from Texas. Over the next seven years, she worked in the Office of Black Student Services and was a student leader on campus. During this time she was married and had two very difficult pregnancies and eventually had to leave school. After the birth of her second son, she separated from her husband and left the university to return to Texas with only a year left to graduate. Last fall, Bowen returned to Colorado State, leaving her 4- and 8-year-old sons at home with her mother so she could put all her time and effort into finishing her music degree. She performed her final opera recital of her academic career last month. As a single mother and first-generation, low-income and non-traditional age African-American college student, she overcame the odds to earn her degree.

Contact number for Maria Bowen: 970-495-2249.

Kim Bender is graduating with a master’s degree in social work from the College of Applied Human Sciences at Colorado State University on May 10. She recently completed a thesis concerning sexual tourism, which has widespread implications pertaining to international social work. Bender works at the University Counseling Center as a social work intern providing therapy to students. She has published works on poetry therapy and multi-theoretical approaches to understanding depression. Bender plans a trip to Eastern Europe after graduation as part of a program that brings native English speakers to Russia to teach English to students through experimental learning groups and ropes courses. She plans to return to the United States and find work in clinical social work in Washington, D.C.

Contact phone number for Kim Bender: 970-412-9222.

With a drought parching Colorado, Josh Duncan, a civil engineering graduate, is able to look first-hand at how important it is to plan for these dry cycles and to identify water resources to withstand them. Duncan was a recipient of a new scholarship from the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, which is managed by John Fetcher, a 90-year-old rancher who is considered a mentor by many water professionals. Duncan worked with Fetcher to complete his graduate project, which investigated expanding water reservoirs for the Steamboat Springs area, but which also embodies the partnership that Colorado State shares with water professionals around the state the enables future water professionals to learn from professional mentors. Duncan, a native of the Greeley and Brighton areas, plans to continue with graduate school next fall to secure a degree in hydrology and water resources.

Contact number for Josh Duncan: 970-204-0029.

Katy Patz, a native of Juno, Alaska, won’t have trouble adjusting to a demanding work schedule once she graduates. In addition to completing her degree in animal sciences in just four years, Katy has juggled a job at a laboratory on campus and duties in ROTC at Colorado State. Her last semester has been even more hectic, with her marriage to fellow College of Agricultural Sciences graduate Casey Mills to follow the week after graduation. After graduation ceremonies, the couple will attend officer-training camp in Virginia to embark on a career in the Army.

Contact number for Katy Patz: 970-493-7660.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Scott Fleming will be designing projects rather than building them. Fleming earned his first bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 1974 in California, and worked in the construction business in Colorado, Texas and California until enrolling at Colorado State in 2000. After graduating this May, Fleming will move to Durango with his 13-year-old daughter and will begin work in engineering design at Goff Engineering.

Contact number for Scott Fleming: (970) 491-1194